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Isometric exercises: Good for strength training?By Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/isometric-exercises/AN02031
- With Mayo Clinic physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist
Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.read biographyclose window
Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.
Dr. Edward Laskowski is certified by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, including subspecialty certification in sports medicine, and is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine. He is co-director of the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine Center and a professor at College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic.
He has been on the staff of Mayo Clinic since 1990 and specializes in sports medicine, fitness, strength training and stability training. He works with a multidisciplinary team of physical medicine, rehabilitation and orthopedic specialists, physical therapists, and sports psychologists.
Dr. Laskowski is an elite-level skier and an avid hiker, cyclist and climber. He approaches sports medicine from the perspective of a physician and an athlete.
In 2006, President George W. Bush appointed Dr. Laskowski to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and he has received a Distinguished Service Award from the Department of Health and Human Services for his contribution to the Council.
Dr. Laskowski was a member of the medical staff of the Olympic Polyclinic at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and has provided medical coverage for the Chicago Marathon. He serves as a consulting physician to the National Hockey League Players' Association and is a featured lecturer at the American College of Sports Medicine's Team Physician Course.
Dr. Laskowski, a Cary, Ill., native, has contributed to Mayo Clinic's CD-ROM on sports, health and fitness, a website guide to self-care, and hundreds of Mayo Clinic articles and booklets in print and online. He is a contributing editor to the "Mayo Clinic Fitness for EveryBody" book, and he has presented lectures throughout the world on health, fitness and sports medicine topics. His teaching expertise has been recognized by his election to the Teacher of the Year Hall of Fame at Mayo Clinic.
"There are many myths and misconceptions about exercise and fitness in general, and also many traditions that don't stand up to scientific scrutiny," he says. "My goal is to provide the most up-to-date and accurate information on sports medicine and fitness topics in a way that you can practically incorporate into your life."
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Isometric exercises: Good for strength training?
Are isometric exercises a good way to build strength?
from Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.
Isometric exercises are contractions of a particular muscle or group of muscles. During isometric exercises, the muscle doesn't noticeably change length and the affected joint doesn't move. Isometric exercises don't effectively build strength but can help maintain muscle strength — most often in a rehabilitative setting.
Because isometric exercises are done in one position without movement, they'll improve strength in only one particular position. You'd have to do various isometric exercises through your limb's whole range of motion to improve muscle strength across the range. In addition, since isometric exercises are done in a static position, they won't help improve speed or athletic performance.
Isometric exercises may be helpful to someone who's been injured or has a condition such as arthritis, which could make movement painful or be aggravated by using muscles to move a joint through the full range of motion. For instance, if you injure your rotator cuff, your doctor or physical therapist might initially recommend isometric exercises involving the group of muscles that helps stabilize the shoulder to maintain shoulder strength during recovery.
It's also important to note that isometric exercises generally aren't recommended for people who have high blood pressure or heart problems, because the large increase in muscle tension caused by isometric exercises can dramatically increase blood pressure.Next question
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- Laskowski ER (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Jan. 18, 2012.
- Bera SG, et al. Types of strength and power exercises. In: Brown LE. Strength Training. Champaign, Ill.: Human Kinetics; 2007:113.
- Pulmonary hypertension. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/TheImpactofCongenitalHeartDefects/Pulmonary-Hypertension_UCM_307044_Article.jsp. Accessed Jan. 13, 2012.
- Coarctation of the aorta. American Heart Association. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/CongenitalHeartDefects/AboutCongenitalHeartDefects/Coarctation-of-the-Aorta-CoA_UCM_307022_Article.jsp. Accessed Jan. 13, 2012.
- Chrysant SG. Current evidence on the hemodynamic and blood pressure effects of isometric exercise in normotensive and hypertensive persons. Journal of Clinical Hypertension (Greenwich). 2010;12:721.